Groups donate to Bear Aide program |

Groups donate to Bear Aide program

Staff reports

The Soroptimist International of Carson Valley donated $400 to the East Fork Paramedics Bear Aide program on Saturday during the group’s Health Fair at Douglas High School. The club has donated a total of $2,000 to the program since 1995.

In addition, Ronald McDonald program donated $200 for a total of $300 during 1997-98, and the TRIAD program donated $200 for a total of $400 for 1996-98.

The Bear Aide project provides Teddy bears for children during ambulance runs.

The program was started in 1987 by then Chief Don Stangle and his wife Roxanne.

Their son Matthew was in 3rd grade and came home one day with a stuffed penguin for a special school project. Matthew was to write about the penguin’s activities for the week, so his father placed the penguin in the front seat of the ambulance and reported to Matthew what the bear “saw.”

During that week, Stangle responded to an accident in which the mother of three children was injured. She was loaded into the rescue unit along with her children. Stangle comforted one of the small children, a girl, by asking her to “take care of the penguin” while he took care of mom.

He was amazed, he said, how the penguin calmed the child.

While the Stangles were on vacation in California a few months later, they read in a newspaper about a program used by California police, who gave stuffed bears to children in times of trouble.

The Stangles started the East Fork Paramedic’s Bear Aide program, and in the past several years over 15,000 bears have been given to children. The Stangles, Dick and Dorothy Bud, the Lions Club, Topaz Sertoma, Soroptimists and Topaz Sage Hens were among the first to donate funds to the program.

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